Based on these figures Comeos’s Dominique Michel argues that the new rules boil down to a third closure for shops selling non-essentials.
“On Saturday there was a sharp fall in footfall in Belgian shopping streets and stores. The customers that turned out found the new rules confusing. In one shop you need an appointment, but are allowed in in twos, while at the shop next door no appointment is required, but you must shop alone and your visit is limited to 30 minutes. This confusion is translating into a plunge in turnover. If the first Saturday is an indication of things to come, many retailers will consider closing altogether.”
Earlier Comeos calculated the new measures will cost retailers a billion euros in turnover and endanger 13,000 jobs. “The authorities must take responsibility and support retailers” says Michel. “We are seeking a social security holiday for the second quarter as well as a contribution towards big expenditure by retailers large and small.”